What I Learned From Cold Calling Investors

In the summer of 2015, I skipped my vacation. Instead, I helped a company connecting to investors for an upcoming financing round. I didn’t know a single investor person, so I did what any professional would do. I googled “how to connect to investors” and then I started looking tips and recommendations. 🙂

What I read surprised me. Most of the content I read and watched said: “you need to have a mutual connection who introduces you to the investor”. That kind of sucked, because I didn’t have any investor connections. This is very much the same way as what some people say the job market works – people say you need to know someone to get a job.
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How We Want the World to Look Like


How the World Actually Looks Like

When these things happen, they don’t really feel like blessings. Maybe you are thinking, why cannot the job market just work more smoothly? Why do I have to know someone to get a job? Well, I felt the same way with investors and I have felt the same way in my job hunts. It all feels so old-fashioned having to know someone in order to talk.

But, I think it is important that we divide our thoughts into two specific categories in times like this:

  • How we want the world to look like
  • How the world actually looks like

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You Don’t Need a Mutual Connection

You know, when I wanted to find investors I really wanted to be able to reach out to them without having a mutual connection. But in reality, the world wasn’t working that way. At least according to what people said. Similarly, in your job hunt, you might want the job market to work in a certain way. But that is not really how the job market functions.

For instance, I have heard lots of people pitching various ideas about how the job market could work. Also, I think there are fantastic and very promising solutions out there. But until they are widely adopted by employers, they will only be a complementary channel for you in your job hunt. When looking at the statistics, employers still prefer and use informal connections as their main recruitment method. So we kind of have to adhere to that.

So, back to the search for investors. This was one of these cases where I could either focus on how I wanted the connecting to investors to look like or how it actually worked. I decided to just embrace how it worked. But, I also wanted to try if the information that I found online was true, that investors were only interested in cases from referral or mutual connections. Also, I didn’t have any other options than to just start connecting.


What I did was simply this. I went to LinkedIn and searched for “investor” or “business angel”. What followed shocked me.

In the middle of vacation time in Sweden, I started calling and connecting to people on LinkedIn. For many people in Sweden, this is kind of a holy moment of the year. A time where most people don’t want to work. But what I found was that a lot of these investors were actually happy to talk with me about the business.

The Moment That Changed Me

A watch that is just flipping over from one minute to another

I specifically remember one person. I called him up. He was working at a big investment company in Europe and he told me that he was not investing in so small companies as the one I was working for. But, he went through the whole business model together with me and we had a 15-minute call or so about our business, the potential problems we could face and so on. We had a really nice conversation and in the end, he told me – please call if you have anything else you want to talk about. We had no prior connection. That was just a cold call.

That experience was life-changing. I realized that most of these investors were happy to talk because I called about something that interested them – new companies. Not a single person told me to get lost. Everyone was polite and gave me insights.

You Can Contact Anyone

It changed my life in so many ways. I started realizing that everyone is within the reach of a phone call, email or LinkedIn message. The world is so small today it is crazy. People are often happy to connect with you IF you are considerate and bring value when you are contacting them. Also, I find this to be important for me personally. I want to feel when I call or contact someone that I have something of value for them. When I feel that I have something of value, I don’t get nervous about connecting.

Reaching Out to the CEO Directly Works

In many ways, I have had similar experiences when helping people get internships. I usually look up the CEO of the company on LinkedIn and then either call or message them on LinkedIn. The thing is, most company owners and CEOs get sales calls from people that have nothing of value to their company. Things like energy companies and phone operators. Yes, these are needed for a company, but it is not really something that many CEOs get excited about. However, when I call a CEO and say something along these lines:

Person sitting in a suit with a briefcase and having a macbook in his lap

“Hello! My name is Andreas. I help people find jobs in Sweden through coaching. Yesterday, I met a talented person that want to start her career in Sweden. I asked her, what would be your top 10 employers? Your company made the top 10 list, so I wanted to reach out to you.”

Then I get a very interested person on the other end most of the time. This would be even stronger if you make the call or email yourself. Tell them that what they do is interesting and you will have their attention. Why? Because every company out there is looking for talented people that are passionate about their organization, all the time. We live in a time where talented, skilled people like yourself is more important than everything else out there for businesses to thrive.

One Thing the Leading Brands Have in Common

Just look at the highest valued brands in the world: Apple, Google and Microsoft. What do they have in common? Lots of things. But one is they all need very talented people that also think that they do inspire enough to trade in a day in the sofa watching Netflix for a working day at their companies. They all need talented people to run their businesses. Therefore, CEO’s of companies are many times excited about talking to someone that is talented and passionate about what they do.

Man standing in from of a stairchase and door. Holding both his hands down and wearing brown pants, blue shirt and a blue jacket.

Summing Up

Coming back to the initial statements, that you need connections. I still think it is true that you need connections. But, I think people overestimate the depth of those connections. I know that I overestimated that. I thought that investors wouldn’t be interested in talking without a referral or a connection.

When people say “you need to know someone to find a job”, you shouldn’t be thinking “but, I don’t know anyone”. Instead, think about who you should know and connect to them. These connections that everyone is talking about are usually not that deep. Sometimes, investors would refer me to their friends after just one meeting. Similarly in the job hunt, just having a short conversation with someone will put you on their radar.

Investors want to talk about interesting new companies. Because that is what they make money on and are interested in. That brings value to them. CEO’s want to talk to talented job hunters that are genuinely interested in their company because having motivated and talented people is essential to run a business.

You must realize you are actually bringing them tons of value by connecting.

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